1 min Read
December 30, 2015

Nonprofits get immersive with virtual reality

Big Duck

As fundraising communicators, we are always looking to make issues like hunger, disease, and extinction feel as immediate as possible to our audiences. We obsess over storytelling, direct object pronouns, segmentation, personalization, the power of handwriting, and more.

Now, nonprofits are going so far as sending their supporters to meet one-on-one with President Bill Clinton, watch the construction of classrooms in Ghana, and tour Syrian refugee camps.

Okay, that might have been misleading. Bill obviously doesn’t have that kind of time. These nonprofits are using virtual reality technology to provide immersive experiences that bring supporters as close as most of us will get in a lifetime to many of the causes we support.

While virtual reality may not fit within every nonprofit’s budget—charity:water invested approximately $100,000 in an eight-minute video shown at their 2015 gala—the value of this kind of experience is hard to deny (if you’re not sure about that, download the New York Times’s free NYT VR app and visit Paris in the days after November’s terrorist attacks). Pencils of Promise also premiered a virtual reality video at their last gala, contributing to a night that raised $1.9 million 

Viewing a virtual reality video, especially in a setting as immersive as an annual gala, could go a long way in increasing the sense of commitment the viewer feels to the cause. As a result, your viewer might become a more committed donor, remaining an active donor for longer or giving at higher levels and thus boosting their lifetime value. 

So what would your organization do with virtual reality? Technology has a way of becoming more and more accessible, so it’s never too early to start brainstorming—let us know!